Monday, February 18, 2008

What Does Your Voicemail Greeting Say About You?

Last week, I heard a great voicemail greeting.

You may be wondering, what can be so great about a voicemail greeting? Though seemingly insignificant, a voicemail is often the first introduction a stranger has to you. I can sometimes be put off by this first contact with a potential candidate, or intrigued.

I am annoyed by greetings that are chopped off, as in " ... back. Thanks." As simple as it seems to listen to your greeting after recording it, there are people out there who don't. Sometimes greetings sound as though the person recorded it while visiting a dog pound, or on the inside of a meat grinder. I've heard greetings that sound decidedly irritated, as though the person recorded their message after a fight with their significant other, or so low-energy and miserable it's as if they'd recorded the greeting while lying flat on their back in bed with the flu.

Voicemail greetings that intrigue me are those that make me think, "This person sounds really (energetic, professional, on-the-ball). I am really looking forward to speaking to them." They are clear, easy to understand, and sound as if the person takes their voicemail seriously. It makes me hopeful of a prompt and courteous return call. There are even those in this industry who become so fanatical about returning calls, that they call back even if I don't leave a message just to make sure they didn't miss anything important.

Of course, I realize that you can't judge a person solely by their voicemail greeting. Why, it's preposterous to even think such a thing (although it would make my job a lot easier).

I hope you'll understand I am exaggerating to make my point. My point being, that your voicemail greeting is part of the total impression you make on recruiters, customers, and potential employers- people that can have a direct impact on your livelihood and future prospects.

So why was the voicemail I heard the other day so good?

After stating their name, etc, this sales person proceeded to say, "Be sure to ask me about some of the new products I heard about at our national sales meeting..." and then briefly mentioned three of them. Wow, I thought. Smart.

If you've ever read the Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer, you may have encountered this idea before. This candidate had not read Gitomer's book. So much the better. A voicemail may seem so mundane, so simple, but Gitomer says that it is a greeting that people hear over and over, so why not make it work in your favor?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What I Like to See in a Resume

I remember reading a book once on how to write the perfect resume. It offered several suggested formats. As a recruiter, there is only one I prefer: chronological, starting with the most recent work experience at the top. It's straightforward and easy to read.

When I read resumes, I have a few questions in my mind.

1) What products does this person sell? Suggestion: Include a short description of major product (categories) and total number of different products.
2) Who does this person sell to? Describe the primary decision makers in the buying decision.
3) How complex is this sale? Expand upon the decision making context.
4) Results? Rankings and yearly performance to quota are the most relevant. Awards or outperforming quota in a given month are fine, but it's the final number at the end of the year that matters most.

If your resume can answer these questions clearly and succinctly for each position held, then you give a recruiter an opening to see past the obvious and recognize relevant patterns of similarity between different industries.